Have you noticed how popular alcohol has become? Everywhere you go these days you see people quaffing drinks of different hues, textures, colours and tastes. And not just in Putney but all over London. No doubt folk in others parts of the UK think it’s just another “London thing” but we wouldn’t be surprised to find folk back home take to it just as quickly as we fancy lar-de-dar city folks have.
Anyway, with this in mind, it was with a joyous heart and a spring in our step that The Putney Paper headed to The Duke’s Head on Thursday evening for a spot of sophisticated beer tasting courtesy of those fine chaps at The Beer Boutique.
For those not aware (do you live under rocks?) the Beer Boutique is a lovely little shop just down the Upper Richmond Road near the Fresh fish and chip shop (if you don’t know where it is by now you’ve no chance). It aims to offer a lovely selection of taste ales, lagers and bitters, from exotic locations around the world, and a few brewed here in good ol’ Blighty.
So, back to the Duke’s Head, and our two amiable hosts Mark and Jonno, the latter wearing a marvelously colourful jumper, took The Putney Paper, and a good 25-30 others, on a beer-tasting treat of beers from the UK, US, Belgium and Germany. Some courses were accompanied with ‘paired foods’, such as cheese crackers or spicy pastrami, and we learnt a little about each beer and how it had been made as we went. Lovely stuff.
This was great fun and what was also good was the sheets we were given to note down our thoughts on each beer. While this started with good intentions, and notes such as “ a pleasing aroma, reminds me of honey” and so forth, once the fourth beer arrived pen use on paper became more liberal and comments such as “tasty, give me another one” soon started appearing, followed by weird and wonderful doodles, comments and graffiti.
This was part of the charm, as while wine tasting still retains that air of snobbery and silly over-the-top phrases – “yes, I’m getting a hint of damp towel and badger sweat” – beer tasting seemed a much more informal, yet no-less-educational affair. We’d definitely do it again, and if you’re in the need for some fancy beers, be it for a gift, an ‘occasion’, or just as a break from the usual fizzy lager in the supermarkets, we couldn’t recommend the chaps in The Beer Boutique enough to help guide you on your way. Roll on the next sessions chaps, we’ll be there…
Also, as an aside, The Wolsey Room in the Duke’s Head is a bloody lovely little venue, – well worth investigating if you’re after a venue for a small-ish event. Plus some nice views too from the window, as you can see below: